It’s finally here.
After a 60-game season of unknowns, game postponements because players can’t follow proper protocols and massive upsets, the Major League Baseball world is ready for over half the league to do battle for the Commissioner’s Trophy.
The American League will begin the playoffs all-day Tuesday and the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros kick it off.
The Minnesota Twins will be the fan-favorite heading into this series as they look to take down the team who cheated their way to a World Series in 2017. All the signs are saying the Twins should win this series but Minnesota has not had a positive playoff culture since the days of Kirby Puckett. They have failed to advance past the first stage of every postseason appearance since 2002(five of those six eliminations came against the New York Yankees).
The Twins acquired two strong pitching assets in former Los Angeles Dodgers Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill. Maeda has been stellar this year, boasting a record of 6-1 with an Earned Run Average of 2.70 in 66.2 innings pitched. Hill has an ERA of 3.03 but in only 38.2 innings pitched. He will likely come in for long relief if one of Maeda, Jose Berrios or Michael Pineda struggle.
The “Bringer of Rain” Josh Donaldson will not be on the wild card roster as a deals with a calf injury. It will be up to the ageless Nelson Cruz to carry the load offensively as he was the only Twin to hit above .300. The player with the next highest average is Jorge Polanco at .257.
The Astros look like a shell of their former cheating selves. They are simply in the postseason because they are in the same division as the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels. If your name isn’t Michael Brantley, you can’t hit on this team. The pitching is also bad. Zack Greinke is the Game 1 starter and has an ERA of 4.03.
Sweet, glorious revenge sits in the hands of Maeda and Hill. This series should be a cakewalk for Minnesota as they win a series for the first time since 2002.
Prediction: Twins in two